How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise can be daunting. But along with doing your homework about what your position and your contributions are worth, these tactics can increase your success.

By: Stanley Kay

Timing Is Everything

Scott Masciarelli of Clear Insights Coaching recommends not asking for a raise on a Monday or Friday: “I’d do it in the middle of the week, when the person is not thinking of getting out of there and not thinking of everything that’s starting at the beginning of the week.” Some experts point to Thursday as the best day.

Avoid Round Numbers

It might seem natural to use a round number—say, $120,000—when discussing salary. But researchers at Columbia Business School found that people who ask for more specific salaries tend to receive more generous counteroffers, even when the round number would have been larger. Using exact numbers shows that you know your exact value.

Act Like a Man—Even If You’re a Woman

Research shows that men are more confident and do better in salary negotiations. Women are more likely to be seen as aggressive when asking for money, according to a study in the Psychology of Women Quarterly. One way to come across as less confrontational? Says Masciarelli: “Create a sense that your primary objective is the success of the organization.”

Don’t Make Threats

If you don’t get the money you want, don’t threaten to leave the company—a tactic that often fails. “I’m amazed at how many people do that,” says Melanie Ott, founder of Leap Forward Coaching. “It’s just not sound practice in any business situation to threaten a negative outcome.”